From Royal Watchmaker to Rolex Technical Director
For twenty years, from 1951 to 1971, Archak Boyadjian served as Rolex USA's Technical Director, where he took passion in his lifelong vocation and repaired the watches of dignitaries including American presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Boyadjian, who took the name Archie Boyer when he arrived to the United States, was born in 1906 in Bulgaria to a family of watchmakers. At the age of 17, his father officially enrolled him as a student of horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Upon graduating, the young watchmaker returned to his home country where he repaired clocks and later launched a watch repair business with his father in the capital city of Sofia. Among their clientele, one particular customer stood out for the sheer quantity of clocks he brought for repair; it eventually was revealed that the clocks belonged to His Majesty Czar Boris III of Bulgaria, who avidly collected timepieces and especially loved cuckoo clocks.
Serving as the unofficial royal horologist from 1932 to 1937, Boyadjian then moved to Paris and later the United States. He joined the Navy in 1939, where he worked on chronometers, clocks, and watches on both the east and west coasts. When World War II ended, Boyadjian joined watch companies Bulova, Omega, and finally, Rolex. Working from the Fifth Avenue and 45th Street location, Boyadjian served the legendary brand as head of repairs and also oversaw the training program for national distributors.
Completely dedicated to his craft, Boyadjian is remembered as a a constant tinkerer with a strong perfectionist streak and, according to his son, he was happiest when attending Rolex's company Christmas parties. His legacy is carried forward in the countless timepieces that he kept alive and well.
Tudor was trademarked in 1926 by one Hans Wilsdorf, yes the same gentleman that founded sister company and older, bigger brother Rolex. Wilsdorf created the brand ‘Montres Tudor SA’ in 1946. The brand was meant to have the same quality as a Rolex but a lower price. Tudor is known for making robust tool watches for the likes of the Marine Nationale, The Navy Seals and the Israeli Defense Forces. They boast quite the pedigree for being the ‘other’ brand in the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation portfolio. There are many similarities between the two brands. Tudor watches go through a near identical quality control process as Rolex and both brands are notoriously secretive. Many Tudor watches are equipped with the very same oyster cases as Rolex watches (early Tudor models even had Rolex branding on the case back and crowns), but the difference is that the Tudors have off-the-shelf movements while the Rolex uses ‘in house’ movements. Today, Tudor has become a force on its own, releasing in-house movements, and becoming a coveted manufacture. Many aficionados will say that Tudor today is what Rolex was 40 years ago building watches that are no-nonsense tools, meant to be worn.
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